How Does A Sedentary Lifestyle Affect Mental Health?

How does a sedentary lifestyle affect Mental Health?

In recent decades, lifestyle has taken a significant turn and a notable increase in sedentary attitudes has been generated. We go to work by car or public transport, we spend the day sitting in the office, and when we get home, we just want to sink into the sofa and turn on the television. We all know that a sedentary lifestyle affects our physical health, but what about mental health?

In this regard, research affirms that a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of significantly worsening our mental health and developing different types of mental disorders. It has been shown that people who do more physical activity are less likely to suffer from diseases or psychological disorders such as depression or anxiety; in fact, the risk is reduced by 25%.

In short, performing physical exercise has proven to be one of the most important treatments for the correct management of deteriorating mental health, since it has benefits on a physical, psychological and social level. It is important to mention the latter since it has been discovered that a sedentary lifestyle also deteriorates social skills with a tendency towards isolation from the outside world, so that negative thinking increases and favors the appearance of a loop of low tolerance to stimuli that can favor affective disorders such as anxiety or depression.

Given the importance of physical exercise in our health, in today’s article, we will analyze How does a sedentary lifestyle affect our mental health?. Read on to discover the enormous benefits of regular exercise in all aspects of our lives.

What is sedentary lifestyle?

First of all, it is important to define what a sedentary lifestyle is. It is the lack of regular physical activity, defined as less than 30 minutes a day of regular exercise and less than 3 days a week. In other words, a person is considered sedentary when their weekly expenditure on physical activity does not exceed 2000 calories.

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At the moment, Sedentary lifestyle is considered one of the major global public health problems according to the World Health Organization. (WHO). In fact, at least 60% of the population does not carry out the recommended physical activity and leads a sedentary lifestyle.

Sedentary lifestyle and memory

It is important that we become aware of the negative consequences that a sedentary lifestyle brings. In fact, in recent years, studies have confirmed that a sedentary lifestyle significantly worsens memory. As?

Specifically, we would like to talk about a research carried out with a sample of 35 people between 45 and 75 years old, where the subjects were asked about their levels of physical activity and the average number of hours they spent sitting in the previous week. Then, each person’s brain was scanned. The results are shocking. They observed that Sitting for long periods of time causes the medial temporal lobe to thin, a brain area related to the formation of new memories. The scientific explanation is that this weight loss can be a precursor to cognitive problems and dementia in these types of populations.

There are various studies that support the aforementioned, where it has been found that a sedentary lifestyle weakens memory and learning capacity, as well as predisposes to neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore, following the opinion of experts on the subject, it is crucial not to overlook the need to reduce a sedentary lifestyle. It is a great factor to take into account to improve brain health and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, or other ailments.

Mental health and sedentary lifestyle

You may be wondering how a lack of physical activity is related to mental health. Well, one of the key connections between both aspects is that leading a sedentary lifestyle decreases the production of endorphins, those popular hormones associated with feelings of happiness. These hormones not only influence general well-being, but also help reduce fatigue and irritability, improving our mood. In this sense, it is understandable that the absence of physical activity, and therefore endorphins, can increase the risk of worsening existing psychological disorders or even contribute to their development.

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In parallel, research indicates that physical exercise acts as a kind of natural therapy, triggering the release of substances such as endorphins, peptides and neurotransmitters in the brain, which contributes to a feeling of well-being. Besides, exercise promotes willpower and personal growth, encouraging healthy behaviors that have a positive impact on mental health.

On the other hand, leading a sedentary lifestyle can have negative effects on our social life. Inactivity tends to go hand in hand with a reduction in social activities, which can lead to isolation and loneliness. Since we are social beings by nature, contact with other individuals is essential to improve our mental health. Lack of social interaction can lead to various ailments and disorders.

In summary, some of the effects of a sedentary lifestyle on mental health are:

Tips to combat sedentary lifestyle

Integrating physical activity into your daily life is easier than you think. It is not necessary to spend long hours exercising or commit to activities that you do not like. Small changes to your routine can make a difference. Here are some helpful tips to start transforming your life and experiencing positive results on your mental health: